Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Recovery and the Five Phases of a Migraine

Well last night I made it ‘till 11 (barely) and took my Treximet. I think by 11.30 it was gone, no joke. Of course since I had slept all day and this was the first time I was pain free I was a little excited and hyper. I was up ‘till 3ish eating hummus and listening to my iPod, which was great because I didn't have to listen to just classical or ambient. I had a ton of time to think too, daydream, and apparently rap. Rap? Yes, that's what she said. I was rapping in m head about everything. It was crazy. But I'm no stranger to how weird migraine meds make me act. When I have a migraine itself, I just talk nonsense and if I'm put on Prednisone for clusters then I get insanely hyper and chatter away. None of it helps that I'm sleeping for about 20 hours per day during these attacks.

Today [Sunday, it was posted late] I was feeling a little better. Not great; I wasn't able to go to DC to do my museum project so hopefully I can get it all done Wednesday. I was in the last phase of a migraine [see below], the phase where you still feel shitty but your head doesn't really hurt but there's still a twinge and you remember the pain so you don't want to do anything to trigger it again. I was terrified of getting all the way to DC and stuck there with pain that I had the day before. It was terrible walking around the grocery store. So going on a voyage wasn't a possibility. I still took a nap because I was groggy and had some side effects from the second Treximet I took but now I'm ok.

When I looked up Treximet to see the waiting period of 24 hours, I found out there were 5 phases of migraines:

The first phase of a migraine, prodrome, comes before the actual migraine attack. It can take place hours or days before a migraine. During prodrome, people often experience changes in mood, appetite, energy level, bowel habits, sight, and speech. Think of these migraine symptoms as a series of warning signs that an attack may be on the way: when you become aware of them, you can be ready to treat your migraine at the first sign of migraine pain.

Hm, maybe I should pay more attention to things like that. I've never experienced anything like that, but I've never paid attention to how they coincide with my migraine. Recently I've just been waking up with them, or they've been through my fault by not properly avoiding triggers. I have gotten nauseous before, so I know that's a pretty accurate warning sometimes. I'll get nauseous out of the blue and then a half-an-hour later or so BAM, I have a migraine.

Often mentioned as a migraine symptom, aura actually occurs in only 20% of all cases, usually before an attack (although it can happen during a migraine as well). During aura, people can see stars, specks, zigzag lines, and/or flashing lights in geometric patterns. Some people experience blind spots. Less common aura symptoms are confusion, slurred speech, tingling, and numbness or weakness in the arms or legs.

I've never had an aura. Usually these (the weakness, dizziness) happen in the next phase.

The actual head pain phase of a migraine generally lasts several hours, although it can last as long as 3 days. Migraines are typically marked by moderate to severe throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head, which may get worse when the migraine sufferer moves. Some people may experience pain or pressure in the back of the neck, or in the face around the eyes or sinuses. Migraines may also include symptoms such as sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine sufferers can experience varying combinations of symptoms during this phase with each attack.

Pff, 3 days? I've had two weeks. It does get worse when I move, and last Memorial Day I had a sinus infection as well. Double whammy, it was horrible. I was in the ER when everyone thought they had H1N1 and was in triage for two hours. They put me on Dilaudid, which is apparently morphine turned up to 11 (one IV drop of Dilaudid is equal to 10 drops of morphine) and I was out of it for awhile. It coincided with Jon & Kate Plus 8's big breakup, so I remember laying in bed for the next two weeks watching TLC. Crazy.

The last 2 phases, termination and postdrome, occur at the end of a migraine attack, and may overlap. These phases usually last from several hours to several days. As the pain subsides, it is common to feel drowsy, irritable, or nauseated. Many people feel as though they have a hangover — tired, sluggish, or even depressed. Some have trouble concentrating.

That was the phase I was in earlier today. Not fun. Hangover exactly. It always feels like it's coming back. Sometimes it does. And other times I'm not completely sure if it's gone away for sure or just hiding. I've learned to definitely stay away from triggers on these days. I've been to the movies or had a soda or beer and it's came right back. Not fun.

Now that the weathers changing it means there goin to come more but also that I can get exercise which I really might benefit from. (It's said exercise helped, and I took a walk once when I had a migraine and it made it worse. Turns out heavy exercise can be a trigger. D'oh.) And I need to get my MRIs and do a sleep study and all that fun stuff.

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